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2011-12-04
Repronormativity-
I've read recently Katherine M. Franke's paper, Theorizing Yes: An Essay on Feminism Law and Desire, in which she approaches the idea of repronormativity as a compulsory motherhood (parenthood actually, but she focuses on the feminist approach) In her paper Franke discusses how it is expected that women reproduce herselves and how this issue has been "taken for granted" in the femenist theory. She argues that not every woman actually wants to be a mother, and that this choice is actually like being heterosexual: social forces (heteronormativity) push women into motherhood. 
A month ago the ECHR decided in a case S.H.&Others vs. Austria that it is not against the European Convention on Human Rights to deny the use of ova of third person in In vitro fertilisation processes, the argument is that this could disrupt the "normal" development of the child because having two mothers can be specially awkward and it would pose many problems to establish kinship and parental rights.


This makes me wonder:
1) Should we continue to use the civil legal presumptions for motherhood or fatherhood?
The answer for this question can be no, if a person cannot naturally be a mother or a father then they should not be, there are lots of orphans that need parents. 
This kind of thinking takes me to the repronormativity issue of Franke, but from the other side, it is expected that a woman can reproduce, if she can't then she should resign, for the benefit of the child. 
And that takes me to the next question:
2) Is not this prohibition a kind of punishment for people that cannot reproduce themselves for not being naturally able to do it? Is it not an irrational fear of having to solve motherhood questions without a preconcieved rule like: maxim mater est quam gestatio demonstrat? 

Is there really a problem? 


I am still thinking about this question, but I find it quite interesting that more than 30 years after the first in vitro baby was born, we still have legal problems to solve and this particular issue is a problem where the IVF is actually regulated, in countries where IVF procedures are not regulated, the women are actually having children from ova of other women. 
The problem is actually being just moved or postponed.


If you read spanish, I pose this question in a comment HERE 



I'd love to discuss it. 

2011-12-05
Repronormativity-
Thank you for letting me know of this intriguing case.  It seems to me that Austria, or at least the Court, is right.  Ovum donation confuses motherhood.  But the same arguments would apply to sperm donation, whether with the same force is an intriguing question.  Is it worse to confuse motherhood than to confuse fatherhood?  
From an American perspective, the question is easy,  Couples who want children, but cannot get them the traditional way, should adopt.  There are very many abortions, and some at least of the women concerned would prefer to place the child in an adoptive home if made aware of the option.  In America, at least, interracial adoption is not only socially acceptable but also common.  There is an intriguing discussion among Catholics about the adoption of embryos (via implantation), but as I understand it the chances of getting a living child that way are, though not nonexistent, slim,


The desire of parents for children of their own is reasonable.  But it does not trump all other considerations, such as the needs of children without parents,  In any event sperm and ovum donation satisfies the desire of only one parent for biological continuity (does it matter which?).

On the face of Franke's paper is irrelevant; we are dealing here with women who want offspring.
But my queries indicate places on which we might usefully hear from feminists,

With best wishes,


Phil Devine


2011-12-06
Repronormativity-
My understanding is that there are about 40 families waiting to adopt every white newborn.
There are enough minority families to adopt minority newborns and, if ever there is a problem,
they are given to white families and become adoptable multiple times over. The claim is
problematic, therefore, that couples who cannot get children in the traditional way should
adopt. Many people are adopting overseas for this reason, but that's complicated
and expensive. One curious thing is that so few people in the USA are aware that
the demand for adoptable newborns vastly outstrips the supply. Part of the reason is
that the media, which has tended to support abortion on demand, is slow to publish
(or emphasize) information that might create second thoughts about abortion,
and the pro-choice forces have long maintained that abortion is justified in part because
otherwise the child will be 'unwanted.'

2011-12-12
Repronormativity-
Jim, frankly your message here is a reflection of the kind of blind paranoia that arises from the stubborn refusal to accept that the acceptance of abortion arises largely from the widespread acknowledgement of or acquiescence in the view that a minimally-formed embryo is not a full fledged person; see Warren's well-known article on this.  For goodness' sake, the voters of *Mississippi* could not find themselves able to commit to a contrary view; what does that tell you about the rest of the country?  Some people on polls give lip service to the pro-life view who, on reflection, do not really think we should act as if an 8-week embryo has exactly the same rights as an adult human being, enough to support the national consensus on abortion rights, especially amongst those charged with keeping the interpretation of our laws consistent with fundamental constitutional rights.  I know it's tempting to believe otherwise, and to fabricate media conspiracies to try to explain why people don't agree with the view that a fertilized egg is a full-fledged person, but as long as you resort to such paranoid inventions you will never understand why people think otherwise.

The idea that people don't generally know that there is a large demand for adoptable children is, frankly, insane; a great many people know of someone who was adopted or parents who seek to adopt, and know how long it takes.  Stop pretending that fear that one's child may not get adopted is a significant factor in most abortions, or a major part of its justification; it's rather that an embryo is not yet a baby, and a woman is no more morally obligated to continue a process which affects her intimately and would typically result in a baby 7 months later, than she is obligated to submit to a sexual overture which might result in one 9 months later, if she chooses otherwise.  The only difference between these is one of degree, in the time and the probability of the result; in neither case is a person with moral rights present in her body.  Refusal to accept this is, I think, the only possible excuse for the fantasy that there is a media conspiracy to suppress information about adoption, information which is readily available and which I see on the media on a sufficiently regular basis to confirm what I already know about it from experience.

2011-12-12
Repronormativity-
You missed my point. What I said was compatible with the view that fetus's do not have a moral right to life. I was responding to this claim in the previous post:

'From an American perspective, the question is easy,  Couples who want children, but cannot get them the traditional way, should adopt.'

I was holding the question isn't so easy, because the demand for adoptable newborns so vastly
outstrips the supply. Ought implies can.

I agree that more people are beginning to get a realistic idea of the situation than before, but not,
apparently, the author of those sentences. Part of the reason the reality is still not fully appreciated
(e.g. most people don't know that 40 families are trying to adopt for every white American newborn,
nor that minority newborns who cannot be adopted by minorities are given, as a matter of law,
to white families and so are also multiply adoptable) is that the media has either not reported
it or not emphasized it. That the media has been loathe to publish information that might weaken
the pro-choice position has long been evident. 'Conspiracy' is your word, but there is little
question that the journalists who write about abortion are often pro-choice feminists.

For instance, NARAL asserts, and it is widely believed, that between five and ten thousand women
died in illegal abortions in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade. The National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, our most trusted source of mortality statistics, puts the number at 39. (I called and asked personally.) Readers might wish to ask themselves why they heard this first here.
When asked where they got the number, a leader of NARAL, who had resigned, said:
'We made it up, and the media published it as though it was law.'

According to statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute of Planned Parenthood, 48 percent
of the 3000 or so abortions every day are repeats (not the woman's first abortion). Again
this would seem to be newsworthy, but I have never seen it in the news. Perhaps one day we will see what a less aggressively misinformed public makes of the issues.

Note that everything I have just said is consistent with the assertion that women have a moral right to abortion on demand because fetus's have no moral standing. You can't effectively rebut what I've said by attacking my 'blind paranoia' etc, since I can be as paranoid as you please and everything I just said could still be true. The best you can do is change the subject.


.

2011-12-12
Repronormativity-
Reply to Jim Stone
Jim, I agree that what you said is *logically compatible* with abortion rights and fetal non-personhood.  I never said otherwise.  What I said, again, is that the idea people are not generally aware of the excess of demand over supply in adoption is INSANE, and so is the idea that the media has somehow conspired to suppress this well-known fact (which makes as much sense as trying to suppress the fact that the sun rises every day).  And both delusions (I think) can only be motivated by trying to fabricate a conspiratorial explanation for why people don't agree with the pro-life position on the part of those who think that those who reject it must be the victims of information suppression, instead of people who have very sound reasons for their commitments.  I stand by everything I said, and submit that YOU are trying to change the subject.

2011-12-12
Repronormativity-
Reply to Jim Stone
And I didn't "miss your point."  You made several points.  I didn't comment on those which made sense, but on the other ones, which did not.  Again, you're the one persistently changing the subject, starting with your initial post, which went pointlessly from a sensible comment to a delusional one.